Is suffering part of your daily routine? I believe it’s for the majority of us. In fact, no one of us is immune to it. Every time we solve a problem there is always another one waiting to take its place. We all have problems to handle but the way they are solved is what makes us different. How do you deal with them?
There are three major manners to face an adversity. Many people blame themselves for their hardship becoming depressed rather than stronger. Some people, on the other hand, blame others or even God for their pain becoming bitter rather than better. However there is a third group that simply get better and stronger when facing difficulty. But how can we face hardship and still get better and stronger? From the story of the ten lepers we find three steps to overcome life’s trials.
- We overcome difficulties when we humbly ask Jesus for help (Vs. 11-13)
Verse 11 says that Jesus was travelling from the North of Israel towards Jerusalem, in the south. The nearest way to get there was through Samaria, located in the middle of the way. The text is clear about all this geographical details but why does not mention the name of the village where Jesus entered? Well, the author probably wanted to draw our attention not to a place but to the people who lived there. That leads us to verse 12.
In this passage Jesus meet a group of men who had a very serious disease. Leprosy was a terrible skin disease that disfigured a person. As it was contagious they lived far away from their family and friends. They could not work and had to depend on the charity of others to eat. Without a miracle they lived in isolation until they either got better or died.
In verse 13 they asked for help. But according to the text of Leviticus 13.45-46 they should have shouted, “Unclean, unclean!” to keep way those who were well avoiding any kind of contagious. These ten men broke the rules when they saw Jesus, didn’t they? Instead of warning him, they yelled, “Master, help us”. But why didn’t they follow the rules? Well, they knew Jesus had power to heal them so they humbly ask for help.
Are you living in isolation far from your friends and family as well? Are you so depressed that death seems your best hope? If you have said yes for one of these questions I want to tell you that Jesus can help you too. Do not be arrogant and proud. Let us cry out to him, for he meets the needs of those who ask him for help in humility. But also let us obey him in faith.
- We overcome difficulties when we obey Jesus in faith (Vs. 14)
The verse 14 doesn’t say how the ten lepers knew about Jesus but maybe they heard that Jesus had interacted with a person infected with leprosy before. The book of Luke 5.12-13 tells us that a man was touched by Jesus and immediately got healed. Imagine how this amazing news spread throughout Israel, mainly among all those who has plagued with leprosy. But why didn’t Jesus cured the ten lepers on the spot as he has done it before?
Jesus could have healed them all at once but instead he asked them to go to the priests in order to fulfil the law. According to the law given to Moses the priests would look the person over very carefully and announce if someone was clean or unclean. However they were not healed when Jesus sent them, so what was the point of it?
They had not yet been healed but they believed in Jesus’ word. Jesus required from them obedience in faith, that’s why he did not heal them so quick. It would take great faith for the lepers to be checked before they were healed. However they did not fear being laughed at because they they trusted him.
How big is your problem? How big is your faith? Do you believe that Jesus can solve big problems? The best way to find out is obeying Jesus in faith. So let us be like the ten lepers and choose to obey our Lord Jesus Christ and his commands. Let us follow his commands written in the Bible. But also let us adore him in gratitude.
- We overcome difficulties when we adore Jesus in gratitude (Vs. 15-18)
When the ten lepers realized they were completed healed what was their response? The verse 15 says that only one of them returned praising God in a loud voice. Jesus then asked three questions, from verse 17-18, but in order to make a few points instead of eliciting a direct answer. And what were these points?
First, Jesus highlighted that ingratitude is a horrible but very common behave. Jesus helped ten people but only one came back to give thanks. These men suffered from a long time having no reason to be grateful but when they had a reason they still did not show gratitude. That shows us that the problem is not the hardships we face in life. The problem is our attitude about the hardships.
Second, Jesus revealed how religiousness can easily become more important than God’s true adoration. Nine of them followed the religious procedures but only one came back to praised God. They all wanted to act correctly but only thought through and behaved correctly. That shows us that true worship starts in our minds, when we think. Then moves to our heart, when we feel. And then is expressed through actions, not the other way around. True worship is from inside out.
Third, Jesus pointed out how most of us can become sectarians even being from the same species, human beings. He called the Samaritan of “stranger” they were looked at by the Jews as an inferior race of people ethnically and spiritually. Probably even the others lepers thought they were better and superior than this Samaritan but in this passage the Jesus shame the Jews.
Are you grateful even through a hardship? Would you be able to praise God from inside out even when facing a problem? How sectarians are you when among someone different from you?
I want to conclude saying that even though we all face difficulty in life one day grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer simply because we are all going to die. However the Bible says that those who do not ask Jesus for help in humility, obey him in faith and adore him in gratitude will spend eternity in a place full of problems.
As ugly and painful as leprosy was, we live in a spiritual much worse condition. We all have been contaminated by sin. We lived in isolated because of our sins, far from God. But as Jesus healed the lepers can also cure us and bring us back to God.
Would you be able to say, “Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for me in order to heal me for ever”? If so, Jesus surely would repeat what he said in verse 19, “stand up and go. Your faith has made you well.”